© 2017 González-Juarbe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Prior studies indicated that CD8+ T cells responding to a surrogate single antigen expressed by Y. pseudotuberculosis, ovalbumin, were insufficient to protect against yersiniosis. Herein we tested the hypothesis that CD8+ T cells reactive to the natural Yersinia antigen YopE would be more effective at providing mucosal protection. We first confirmed that immunization with the attenuated ksgA- strain of Y. pseudotuberculosis generated YopE-specific CD8+ T cells. These T cells were protective against challenge with virulent Listeria monocytogenes expressing secreted YopE. Mice immunized with an attenuated L. monocytogenes YopE+ strain generated large numbers of functional YopE-specific CD8+ T cells, and initially controlled a systemic challenge with virulent Y. pseudotuberculosis, yet eventually succumbed to yersiniosis. Mice vaccinated with a YopE peptide and cholera toxin vaccine generated robust T cell responses, providing protection to 60% of the mice challenged mucosally but failed to show complete protection against systemic infection with virulent Y. pseudotuberculosis. These studies demonstrate that vaccination with recombinant YopE vaccines can generate YopE-specific CD8+ T cells, that can provide significant mucosal protection but these cells are insufficient to provide sterilizing immunity against systemic Y. pseudotuberculosis infection. Our studies have implications for Yersinia vaccine development studies.